The BIG IDEA:
God brings beauty from the brokenness of our poor sexual choices when we turn to him and approach sexuality according to his design.
We see sex as an ultimate thing, so we make it an idol.
Realize that sex and the marriage between a husband and wife point to something greater: the relationship God wants to have through Jesus with his people.
Just like a gift points to the love that the giver has for the other person, sex (as God designed it) is God’s gift to us which points to the relationship that God wants to have with us through Jesus Christ. Sex is meant to be a giving of one’s self, not a taking from someone else. In the same way, Jesus gave his whole self to us and we give our whole selves back to him. Sex done God’s way is to be a reflection of that giving relationship.
What I want the group to know and understand: God redeems our sexuality when we trust him to avoid sexual activity outside marriage as an expression of devotion to him. He makes sex beautiful when we experience it in marriage as a way of giving to our spouse.
What I want the group to experience: Excitement about experiencing God’s design for our sexuality in a way that brings joy and freedom.
How I want the group to respond: By staying away from sexual activity outside marriage, and turning to God and receiving Christ’s forgiveness and healing for past wrong choices.
The SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOPIC:
Our culture tells us that single people who aren’t having sex are missing out. Our culture also tells us that sex in marriage is boring. But God says that single people who don’t make sex a god are free to live for the one true God. And married people who experience God’s gift of sex realize that this gift points to the ultimate gift of God giving us his Son to die for our sins.
The idea box is a place where you can find some creative ideas for leading this study. You might find videos, activities, or great illustrations that really bring the main point home. The ideas come from small group leader like you, so if you have an idea that isn’t in there, click below to share it with the community!
Imagine you did something hurtful to a close friend. To your surprise, your friend doesn’t respond with anger and judgment. Instead your friend extends you undeserved love by giving you a beautifully wrapped gift. How would you feel about that?
Many of us have hurt our close friend, God, by making unwise sexual choices: doing things we shouldn’t do, thinking sexual thoughts that dishonor God and others, or giving sex and relationships too much of a place in our lives. Sex according to God’s design is like that beautifully wrapped gift that we don’t deserve.
1. Read 1 Corinthians 7:32. If we’re unmarried, what should be our attitude toward life, relationships, and sex?
Our top concern should be pleasing the Lord.
2. Read Ephesians 5:22-24. What do these verses say about how a wife should relate to her husband?
She should defer to her husband’s leadership as a picture of how followers of Jesus defer to his leadership.
3. Read Ephesians 5:25-30. What do these verses say about how a husband should relate to his wife?
He should cherish, nourish, and love her sacrificially as a picture of how Jesus relates to us.
4. Read Ephesians 5:31. What gift does God give to a husband and wife sexually when they come to their relationship with a heart to give and sacrifice, not just to satisfy their own needs?
God gives them the beautiful gift of intimacy.
5. Read Ephesians 5:32. When a man and woman experience marriage and sex as God designed it, what greater thing does it point to?
It points to the beautiful love relationship that God wants to have with people through faith in Jesus Christ.
6. God wants unmarried people’s focus to be on pleasing the Lord (see 1 Corinthians 7:32). How is that approach to life and sex a beautiful gift from God? (as opposed to being consumed with sex and relationships, caught up in comparisons, and feeling like you always need to “have” someone)
Allow the group to discuss. Pleasing the Lord as our top concern helps us live for what’s most important and keeps us from being enslaved to things like sex and relationships that can never fully satisfy.
7. God also wants married people’s focus to be on pleasing the Lord by showing each other love and respect. Out of this love and respect comes beautifully intimate sex and pictures the love and intimacy God wants to have with us. How is this kind of relationship a gift from God?
Allow the group to discuss. It’s a gift to experience this kind of pleasure and intimacy. It’s also a gift that God would let our lives point to him in any way.
8. How does it make a difference in your life to know that sex is bigger than sex (that for unmarried people the “bigger thing” is abstaining from sex to please God and that for married people the “bigger thing” is loving each other in a way that pictures Jesus’ love for his people)?
Allow the group to discuss. It frees us from the slavery of making sex and relationships more important than they are. It brings excitement to life by helping us live for what matters most.
9. Read Joel 2:25. How does it help to know that God’s forgiveness in Christ is bigger than any failure to live in line with God’s design for your sexuality and relationships?
Allow the group to discuss. It means our unwise choices and consequences aren’t the final word. God’s undeserved love and forgiveness are. He can take the biggest mess and make it beautiful.
10. What step is God calling you to take (in his power) to live in line with his design for you in sex and relationships?
Allow the group to discuss. It may be a decision to live with a top desire to please the Lord. It may be breaking off a relationship that’s not honoring to the Lord. It may be receiving his forgiveness in an area of shortcoming or failure.
Our review cards are an excellent way to review your past lessons with your students before each study. Not every lesson has one yet but if we have them, you can find them on the PRINT page. Check them out and use them each week to help your students grab hold of the truths in these studies.
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.